Email Marketing Stats: How Does Your Company Rate?

Email marketing continues to be a valuable resource online and updated statistics helps email marketers prepare accordingly

Every time I come across stats related to email marketing activity, I get excited to share them with the community. Recently I read a benchmark report from Emarsys, which looks at tens of thousands of email campaigns from over 1,000 companies. They’ve been updating this report over the past five years, so there is comparison data included. Take a look at some of the findings below.

Bounce rate decreases

Over the course of the last few years, email marketers have been clearly paying more attention to improving bounce rates. As of 2009, the reported average bounce rate was 3.08%. In 2011, that number dropped to 1.84%. B2C companies have consistently reported lower bounce rates compared to B2B companies over this time (1.73% and 2.49%, respectively).

More emphasis on creating a positive email reputation is leading to lower bounce rates. Suggesting your email recipients whitelist you, getting rid of undeliverable email recipients, and addressing spam complaints helps keep an email marketing list clean.

Open rates decrease

One unfavorable statistic is the consistent decrease in open rate. In 2007, Emarsys reported an average open rate of 34.9%. Every year since 2007 has returned a lower open rate, with an average of 22.73% in 2011. Throughout this time, the usage of email as a marketing channel has grown throughout many industries.

Email fatigue associated with crowded inboxes is one possible reason average email open rates have been consistently falling. The drop in average open rates means email marketers need to focus on creating intriguing email subject lines that pique the email recipients’ interest.

Download a FREE copy of Best Email Subject Lines for Selling Premium Subscriptions and Memberships and discover an extensive list of email subject line frameworks that are consistently proven to sell and boost revenue for publishers.

Click rates increase

If you look at Emarsys’ data throughout the last five years, there is a decrease overly in click rates. In 2007, the average of total clicks was 19.27%. This number consistently fell until 2010 when the number reached 11.08%. However, last year the total click average increased to 11.60%. This same trend existed for individual clicks, which were defined in the report as one minimum click per recipient.

Unsubscribe rate decreases

The unsubscribe rate has been decreasing for the last few years, which is a positive sign to both B2B and B2C companies. Audiences are clearly accepting of the information they receive via email and wish to continue receiving it. Between 2010 and 2011, the unsubscribe rate dropped from 0.16% to 0.11%.

Initial emails have a higher unsubscribe rate than ongoing campaigns. This isn’t surprising to see, especially when it comes to content-based businesses operating a content marketing model. Often times, recipients will register for a free report or a coupon, and after they receive the content they want, they opt out of the email list.

The remainder of this report dives into the specific industries and languages that were observed. The report is free, so you can take a look directly into data related to your industry if you’d like. And although this data comes from 70,000 email campaigns sent by over 1,000 B2B and B2C companies, there is the chance that you, or others in your industry, are seeing different data. If this is the case, please share your findings with the rest of our community.

Ultimately, successful email marketing comes down to a few things. First, you need your infrastructure set up accordingly and your email reputation maintained. This way emails will continue to reach your recipients’ inbox.

Next, you need to have great content and interesting subject lines that get people to click. Use A/B testing on subject lines to assure a better response.

If you are looking for more ways to build your email marketing list, check out this free report we’ve created on the topic.


    Chris, thanks for sharing this information. The number one method we’ve found to increase opens is thoughtful yet provocative subject lines. Of course, quality content is a given.


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